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Five Pakistani Cricketers from the 2019 ODI World Cup Who Will Be Absent in the 2023 CWC

Pakistan recently unveiled its 15-member squad for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, scheduled to kick off in India on October 5. While the squad largely mirrors the one that represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023, one notable addition is Hasan Ali, who secures his place after representing Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup. However, several of his teammates from the 2019 World Cup will not be making an appearance in the upcoming tournament.

Here’s a look at five Pakistani cricketers who were part of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup but will be absent from the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup squad:

  1. Sarfaraz Ahmed: Sarfaraz Ahmed served as both the captain and wicketkeeper for the Pakistan team during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. In terms of batting, he had a decent run, accumulating 143 runs in eight innings, with his highest score being an unbeaten 55 against Afghanistan. However, Pakistan’s performance under his captaincy did not meet expectations, and they failed to reach the semifinals, ultimately finishing fifth. Sarfaraz’s exclusion from the 2023 World Cup squad reflects the team management’s desire for fresh leadership and a change in direction.
  2. Shoaib Malik: Shoaib Malik, a seasoned campaigner for Pakistan, had a disappointing run with the bat during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. He managed to score just 8 runs in three innings and was unable to make a significant impact on the tournament. Malik’s struggles with form and performance in the World Cup likely played a role in his exclusion from the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup squad. After Pakistan’s last game in the 2019 World Cup, Malik decided to retire from One Day International (ODI) cricket and shifted his focus to T20Is.
  3. Mohammad Hafeez: In the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, Mohammad Hafeez put up a reasonably good performance for Pakistan, scoring a total of 253 runs in eight matches at an average of 31.62. While his batting was consistent, his strike rate was a bit on the lower side for modern One-Day International (ODI) cricket. Additionally, Hafeez’s off-spin bowling, which had been a crucial part of Pakistan’s limited-overs strategy, wasn’t as effective as desired during the tournament. Hafeez retired from all forms of cricket in 2022, ruling him out of consideration for selection in any format, including ODIs.
  4. Haris Sohail: Haris Sohail was one of the standout performers for Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup, scoring 198 runs in five games at an impressive average of 39.60, including a crucial century against South Africa. However, injuries and inconsistent performances have hindered his progress since then, leading to his absence from the 2023 squad.
  5. Imad Wasim: Imad Wasim had a reasonable 2019 World Cup, contributing both with the bat and ball. He scored 162 runs and took two wickets in six matches. However, the emergence of younger all-round talents and the team’s desire for a more balanced squad have resulted in his exclusion from the 2023 World Cup squad.

In summary, the exclusion of these players from the 2023 World Cup squad is influenced by a combination of factors, including fluctuations in performance, age, the emergence of new talent, and the team’s need for fresh faces and leadership. The selection process aims to strike a balance between experience and youth to build a competitive team for the upcoming tournament.

Special Mention: Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Faheem Ashraf, Abid Ali The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup not only featured prominent players but also some names that went unnoticed due to their lack of game time. Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Faheem Ashraf, and Abid Ali were part of the 2019 World Cup squad for Pakistan but couldn’t secure a single game in the tournament. Their absence from the 2023 World Cup squad is also notable.

Junaid Khan: Junaid was expected to be a key pace bowler for Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup but was surprisingly left out of the playing XI throughout the tournament. Despite his experience and ability to swing the ball, he didn’t get an opportunity to showcase his skills. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been included in the 2023 squad either, marking a significant shift in team preferences.

Mohammad Hasnain: A young and promising fast bowler, Hasnain was considered a future star. Nonetheless, he remained on the bench throughout the 2019 World Cup. The decision to leave out Hasnain from both the 2019 and 2023 squads suggests that the team management may have had reservations about his readiness for such high-pressure events.

Faheem Ashraf: Ashraf is a versatile all-rounder who was expected to provide a balance of batting and bowling in the 2019 World Cup. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a chance to make an impact in the tournament. In February 2022, Hasnain was suspended from bowling in international cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to an illegal bowling action. In June 2022, he was cleared to bowl following assessments on his action. His exclusion from the 2023 squad could be attributed to a combination of competition for all-round spots and his inconsistent performances in recent times.

Abid Ali: Abid, an opening batter, was part of the 2019 World Cup squad but didn’t get an opportunity to bat at the grand stage. Despite his domestic success, he hasn’t found a place in the 2023 squad, indicating a shift in the team’s opening combination preferences. In December 2021, while playing in a match in the 2021–22 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Abid complained of chest pains and was taken to the hospital. He was later diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome. The following day, he underwent an angioplasty.

These players’ journeys from being part of the 2019 World Cup squad to being omitted from the 2023 squad highlight the evolving dynamics of team selection, competition for spots, and the need to adapt to changing strategies and player preferences in international cricket.

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